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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader


Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson

This volume is about the education of gender and sexualities, which is to say it explores how gender and sexuality identities and differences get constructed through the process of education and «schooling». Wittingly or not, educational institutions and educators play an important role in «normalizing» gender and sexuality differences by disciplining, regulating, and producing differences in ways that are «intelligible» within the dominant or hegemonic culture. To make gender and sexuality identities and differences intelligible through education is to understand them through the logic of separable binary oppositions (man-woman, straight-gay), and to valorize and privilege one normalized identity within each binary (man, straight) and simultaneously stigmatize and marginalize the «other» identity (woman, gay). Educational institutions have been set up to normalize the construction of gender and sexual identities in these ways, and this is both the overt and the «hidden» curriculum of schooling. At the same time, the «postmodern» times in which we live are characterized by a proliferating of differences so that the binary oppositional borders that have been maintained and policed through schooling, and that are central to maintaining highly inequitable power relations and rigid gender roles, are being challenged, resisted, and in other ways profoundly destabilized by young people today.
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Notes on Contributors


Lee Airton is a PhD candidate in Language, Culture and Teaching, and an instructor in the concurrent teacher-education program at York University in Toronto, Canada, whose dissertation uses theories of affect to explore difference and disciplinary belonging in social-justice teacher education. Lee’s publications include an article in the journal, Sex Education, and a chapter on gender diversity for use in teacher-education courses (in Diversity and Multiculturalism: A Reader, Peter Lang, 2009). Lee holds previous degrees (BA, MA) in education and gender studies from McGill University, and maintains a how-to blog on using gender-neutral pronouns in everyday life at

Allison Daniel Anders, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina, USA. Anders uses ethnography and qualitative research methodologies to study the everyday experiences of targeted youth and the K–16 educational settings they navigate, and teaches graduate courses in social justice and education, sociology of education, and qualitative research.

Mark J. Bartkiewicz is a Research Assistant at GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network. He has a BA in English and Women’s and Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, and an MS in Sociology with a specialization in Gender, Sexuality, and Society from the University of Amsterdam. His research interests include LGBT students’ access to comprehensive sexual-health education and the school experiences of LGBT-parent families. Prior to joining GLSEN in 2009, he was a consultant at StrategyOne, a market-research firm under...

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